Monday, February 28, 2022

15742: BHM 2022—Fake Black History Month Ads.

To counter the fake reverence annually displayed by major advertisers during Black History Month—as well as the overall lack of BHM advertising—MultiCultClassics presents fake BHM Ads.


Saturday, February 26, 2022

15740: BHM 2022—Entertainment And Content Providers.



Streaming services, networks, production companies, etc. play a similar program to salute Black History Month—for these enterprises, all BHM promotions look alike.


Friday, February 25, 2022

15739: Skeptical About Black Skepticism Of DEI…


Adweek published the umpteenth perspective on the challenges faced by Chief Diversity Officers, this one touching on Black skepticism for DEI initiatives. Really. In Adland, the problem is not Black skepticism; rather, it’s White skepticism—as well as disinterest and indifference—that makes DEI DOA.


Understanding Black Skepticism of DEI


To address frustration, leading with vulnerability is key


By Adriana Crawford


Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts have been on a long road to get to where we currently are, with various DEI professionals sitting at the leadership table of some of the industry’s biggest agencies, orgs, startups and companies. So, it might sound strange to hear that many Black employees and those same DEI leaders don’t have all that rosy an outlook on DEI.


It’s understandable. Those who’ve been marginalized and disenfranchised are accustomed to even the most well-meaning efforts failing. But there have also been structural mistakes—DEI tends to be underfunded, unfairly and overly scrutinized and paired with human resources, which traditionally serves and protects the interests of the company, not employees.


At best, the people leading the charge are well-intentioned but, due to lack of resources, education, patience, etc., don’t make a positive impact. At worst, actions taken by companies are done for optics or to check a box. This leaves would-be beneficiaries frustrated, disappointed, and psychologically unsafe at work in more serious cases.


But that frustration doesn’t mean overall efforts aren’t working.


The truth is more complicated—like any new (to the mainstream, anyway) endeavor, DEI efforts are working in some ways while lacking in others. For example, more publications have a dedicated mission and content strategy for enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion within the industry, holding everyone accountable. The increased visibility, publishing of annual reports, hiring of dedicated staff and certain companies taking accountability when missteps are made all certainly indicate that progress is happening. It’s admittedly difficult to conclude definitively without longitudinal data.


Still, employers have a huge responsibility to take steps to get in front of skepticism—while developing a comprehensive DEI strategy that reflects the needs and values of employees—before it takes root and sabotages diversity efforts that should be supported company-wide. Here’s what they can do to earn trust.


Be transparent


DEI efforts can get murky as they consist of a long process of learning and unlearning, strategic planning and change management. The best way to navigate this is through effective communication with employees.


Sharing what’s going on does wonders, as it involves employees throughout each stage, fostering more trust and understanding. This can be done internally with virtual and in-person meetups, where people can have a conversation, in periodic newsletters to keep everyone up to date or even publicly on a company blog. Transparent dialogue gives employees the ability to be included in what should be a collaborative effort and gives the company a chance to explain what changes are coming, what those changes look like, and why they are important.


Focus on quick wins


When tackling diversity skepticism at a company, there are pain points that can persist within organizations that go ignored, breed resentment and ultimately cause turnover. A quick win is a solution that doesn’t require too much time or red tape to implement but can show that DEI efforts are not all talk.


Knowing what to tackle first can be a challenge, but often, the best way to figure out the quick wins is to ask. For example, send out an employee survey to learn where current approaches to DEI are lacking and where there are overlapping concerns, then quickly separate any issues that necessitate prolonged solutions from ones that can be addressed quickly and easily. This will show good faith and earn support for longer-term initiatives.


Be vulnerable


Vulnerability in the DEI space is so important—maybe even the most important factor in DEI work. Sometimes, simply saying, “I’m not completely sure about this, and I’m trying to learn,” is the hardest part of the work.


Leading with vulnerability while addressing a skeptical audience, especially when mistakes are made—and mistakes will be made—is what brings everyone to the same level. It removes the perception of “us versus them” and changes it to “us versus the problem.” We often speak about the value of empathy in DEI; empathy is not possible without vulnerability.


Above all, remember: Lack of buy-in and support doesn’t inherently mean DEI efforts have failed. It may just mean those efforts do not have the resources to work. The process of getting DEI to work is not a sprint but a marathon. It is, at its core, rooted in justice and social impact, and neither comes easily.


Skeptics are guarded for a reason. DEI is too often looked at as a box to be checked, an initiative to take on or a “nice thing to do.” But when regarded correctly with everyone doing their part, it is a critical and essential business function that, when given the right chance, can radically change the industry and the world.

15738: BHM 2022—Procter & Gamble.


P&G BHM ZZZZZZ… (My Black History Is Not Beautiful)

Thursday, February 24, 2022

15737: Busch Drives Deceptive Divertsity.


Busch Light declares:


Getting more women drivers on the track starts with giving their careers the fuel it deserves. We’re proud to officially sponsor all women drivers in @NASCAR now and for years to come. Learn more about our commitment here:


Okay, but the oh-so-progressive platform comes in a distant second to Busch’s real racy spirit.


15736: BHM 2022—Marvel And DC.


Marvel and DC celebrate Black History Month in super style…


Wednesday, February 23, 2022

15735: BHM 2022—Nissan.


Nissan presents Electric Beats, a Black History Month initiative saluting the contributions that Black musicians have made to American music. Okay, except the car brand has a history of dissing the contributions of Black and minority advertising agencies…

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

15734: BHM 2022—Mickey D’s.


Mickey D’s Black & Positively Golden® celebrates Black History Month by saluting “The Future 22” on Instagram…? Um, this is not exactly the best way for the fast feeder to defend itself against Byron Allen’s charges of discriminatory and lackluster support for Black-owned media.

Monday, February 21, 2022

15733: PepsiCo Launches Multicultural Business And Equity Development Organization.


Advertising Age reported PepsiCo launched a new business unit—the Multicultural Business and Equity Development Organization—designed to address internal and external inequality at the company. The special unit will be led by 34-year PepsiCo veteran Derek Lewis. Gee, seems like it would have been a perfect opportunity to call back Brad Jakeman and Kendall Jenner—and resurrect Aunt Jemima too.


PepsiCo Looks To Scale Equality Efforts Through New Business Unit


Derek Lewis is appointed president of newly established Multicultural Business and Equity Development Organization


By Jon Springer


PepsiCo today announced a new unit business unit dedicated to accelerating its efforts to address inequality inside and outside of the food and beverage company and appointed 34-year company veteran Derek Lewis as its president.


The new organization, known as the Multicultural Business and Equity Development Organization, will scale Pepsi’s ongoing efforts to create economic opportunity for underserved businesses and communities, and address inequalities for historically excluded people, the company stated. Pepsi announced a $570 million, five-year commitment in 2020 to increase Black and Hispanic representation in its ranks, and said it would leverage the company’s scale to influence suppliers and partners to do the same.


Businesses across many industries have taken a deeper look at their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategies since social justice protests rocked the country following George Floyd’s murder in 2020.


PepsiCo’s new unit will operate across its beverage and convenient foods businesses, encouraging a “one-team” approach the company stated would enable the brand to drive sustained change and scale faster.


Lewis most recently served as president of PepsiCo Beverages North America’s South Division, and has played an integral role in the company’s broader diversity and community engagement agenda, the company stated. In his new role, Lewis will lead an organization tasked with ensuring end-to-end business inequalities are addressed. He will report to Kirk Tanner, PepsiCo Beverages North America CEO, and Steven Williams, PepsiCo Foods North America CEO.


PepsiCo outlined a variety of focus areas for the new organization including efforts to better communicate messages about its diversity and inclusion progress to consumers and business partners. It will also be charged with accelerating development in underserved communities and expanding several existing programs including the Black Restaurant Accelerator, which supports Black-owned foodservice businesses, and Juntos Crecemos, which supports Hispanic-run small businesses.


A new focus on equity will also rebrand the existing Pepsi Stronger Together community engagement platform with an eye on bringing it increased scale and awareness. Lewis helped to create that program, which includes a variety of grassroots programs, including student mentorship and support for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), according to the program's website.


The equity arm is also intended to elevate Pepsi’s reputation as an employer for a diverse workforce; support employee resource groups; and better support salespeople and delivery professionals in the field.


In addition to Pepsi Stronger Together, Lewis oversaw “She Got Now,” an internship program providing career opportunities for students at HBCUs.


Williams said in a statement said: “We take great pride in the strength of our teams, the power of our brands, and our ability to exceed consumer and retailer expectations. Incorporating and accelerating our equality agenda will now be a new area of strength as we create sustained change in the communities where we live and work.”

15732: BHM 2022—Verizon.

A search for “Black History Month 2022” on the Verizon website produced 4 results, as depicted above. A Google search of the same phrase resulted in content of color far less interesting than phone cases.


15731: In Adland, Professionally Promoting Diversity Is A Dead-End Job…?


Adweek published another seemingly annual navel-gazing editorial about being a Chief Diversity Officer in Adland—this one from Quiet Storm CEO and Partner Rania Robinson. The article’s title asks why the CDO position is viewed as a dead-end job. Um, perhaps because no one has yet managed to successfully counter Sanford Moore’s 2009 perspective on the role. And it doesn’t help when even prominent industry CDOs are bailing out.


Is the CDO role a dead-end job? The first question to ask—with varying degree of imperative from agency to agency—might be: Is systemic racism endlessly alive?


Why Is the Role of Chief Diversity Officer Seen as a ‘Dead-End Job’?


Too often, CDOs are not supported by fellow C-suite leaders in DEI efforts


By Rania Robinson


It’s been encouraging to see the role of chief diversity officer (CDO) gaining prominence in the business world, as calls for a more equitable society rightly become increasingly urgent. In the creative industries, some senior leaders have taken on the additional role of chief diversity officer, which helps to put the diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) remit at the center of decision-making across an organization, from culture to creative output.


Research by LinkedIn released last year found the number of people with the title “head of diversity” has more than doubled, while the “director of diversity” title rose 75% and “chief diversity officer” was up 68%. But this rise in diversity officers is not necessarily a sign of progress if the role doesn’t come with the power to make a tangible difference to an organization’s culture, employee and leadership makeup, direction and output.


Career diversity officers in the industry, without access to the C-suite, risk being marginalized. DEI efforts cannot be seen as a side issue.


Sadly, all too often, the role is also perceived as a “dead-end job” or a thankless task. Once CDOs are hired, they can be left to languish without the budget, power, support or influence to realize initiatives or achieve ambitions. And so, while demand for chief diversity officers is high, so is turnover.


What is the path to progress?


DEI roles can fail to include any clear path for progression while achievements aren’t always celebrated. After all, cultural change is a long process—one which never ends. Efforts must be recognized and valued as part of an ongoing process rather than a tick-box exercise.


And CDOs, as with anyone else, value being able to see ahead of them a clear career trajectory. The path to CEO-ship and other roles in the C-suite should be wide open. They should receive the training and development they need to hone and broaden their skills and expertise.


Certainly, initiatives struggle to gain real traction or move beyond lip service if the C-suite isn’t on board. This is the case with DEI as with anything else. For efforts to work, structure is needed with direct involvement from the top and time set aside to support efforts—efforts which should be company-wide.


Getting more diversity officers into the C-suite or driving diversity collectively from the C-suite is vital. Given that the CDOs role is to ensure that a company prioritizes, values and takes action on DEI, anyone taking on this responsibility must be in a position to achieve change. They must not be confined to the human resources department.


Building a diverse and inclusive workplace starts at the top with the decision-makers. It’s from here that the company vision and mission are articulated. Anything else points to tokenism.


More often than not, this doesn’t happen. So, for those in these roles, it can lead to a lack of morale, burnout and, consequently, a low retention rate. The aforementioned LinkedIn research shows that the average turnover for a chief diversity officer is just three years, with many leaving because of a lack of resources, unrealistic expectations and inadequate support from senior executives.


A need for empowerment and respect


Diversity and inclusivity can and should be a driving force within and behind creative companies. Therefore an empowered, respected senior DEI officer with vision and dedication should be part of key decision-making across the business, from client services to creative processes, and from learning and development to financial planning.


There is no part of an organization that can’t be impacted positively by the right DEI leadership. But it does require the C-suite to understand its crucial importance—not only in and of itself and in society but also to the future success of the business. Time and again, studies have shown that diversity has a positive impact on the bottom line.


Programs need adequate funding while policies must be clear and accessible to all. People in DE&I leadership roles are, in essence, change agents, but change doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It takes wide support to achieve results.


Meanwhile, organizations must take committed steps to build a culture that supports DEI. As part of this, measurement and transparency are key. All staff must feel safe, supported and able to bring their authentic selves to work. To this end, representation is needed at all levels. Commitments must also be written into core values and workplace policies, forming a central part of the wider business plan.


It’s clear that more diversity in the C-suite is critical. Better representation and strategic commitment from the board would go a long way to driving cultural change at a deeper and more sustainable level.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

15730: BHM 2022—U.S. Bank.


For Black History Month, U.S. Bank diversified its website with an all-Black experience.